• By Tim Campbell



Famed for its wealth and skyscrapers, this Middle East metropolis has become one of the favourite destinations amongst travelers worldwide. Dubai is a mixture of east and west given its cultural background and having become one of the world’s largest financial centres over the last three decades.

Built on the backs of poor immigrant workers, Dubai has risen in popularity since its humble beginnings as a desert outback in the early part of the century. Today it has souks and bazaars among Gucci and Hermes shops. Wealth from the regions oil has provided the funds to build hundreds of skyscrapers and provide the population with everything it could ever desire. Dubai has the world’s largest mall, the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, and is now the seventh most visited city in the world.

Each year it is home to various competitions, conferences and round tables such as the International Rugby Sevens, International Film festival, the Dubai Shopping festival, the Dubai World cup horse race, a food festival and the Dubai Tennis championships. It has one of the world’s largest airlines, Emirates, and getting around the city is easy by metro rail, trams, bus or car. Port Jebel Ali is one of the world’s largest container ports and maritime hubs.

Temperatures can push close to 50C in the summer, but usually average 40C in the desert climate. Beach sports and outdoor adventures are therefore popular such as boating and swimming. The UAE is predominantly a Muslim nation but very relaxed in its laws. Tourists shouldn’t be seen to drink or kiss in public, or even look intoxicated.

Due to the large Indian population Curries are a popular food item among locals, but every conceivable restaurant is available for any taste. There are no street vendors as such but plenty of late night fast food places selling shwarma’s made from lamb or beef. Sitting on the shores of the Persian Gulf seafood is also popular here among locals and tourists alike.

If you’re thinking of visiting on holiday then bring plenty of cash with you. Hotel prices are not cheap although there are bargains to be found. Food costs will also depend on your budget but there’s every conceivable taste available. Both outdoor and indoor amenities are plentiful and there is a lot to see and do. Dubai is one of those destinations everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.

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